English Bulldogs and the Quest for the Perfect Family Dog

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

Dog and a boy

Characterized by their broad, undershot jaws and extremely short muzzles, English Bulldogs are among the most popular medium-sized dog breeds.

These short-statured but muscular dogs have wide shoulders that complement their broad chests and slightly arched backs.

But despite their unquestionably adorable features, can English Bulldogs make great family pets? 

English Bulldogs make great family dogs due to their loving nature and even temperament. These strong, medium-sized dogs are known for their patience around small children and loyalty towards family members. Most English Bulldogs will also get along with other pets if introduced early enough.

Curious to learn more about English Bulldogs and whether they make perfect family dogs?

Read on as I, with my background in veterinary medicine, break down everything you need to know about English Bulldogs, focusing specifically on their ability to fit in family settings. 

Are English Bulldogs Good With Kids?

Babies

English Bulldogs are gentle and social with babies, especially when trained from an early age.

Your English Bulldog will enjoy spending time and taking care of your baby with proper training and introduction.  

Many pet parents prefer to raise puppies and babies together to establish a deep connection right from their tender ages.

While this might work in establishing a relationship, it can also expose your baby to risks of injury, especially since English Bulldog puppies can be impulsive.

Unlike the more mature English Bulldogs, puppies might react by biting whenever their tails are pulled or when hurt during play. 

Adult English Bulldogs tend to be calmer than their younger counterparts.

English bulldog laid down

Their composed and happy-go-lucky traits make them great companions for babies. 

However, it’s essential to ensure your adult English Bulldog is well-trained and also vaccinated before leaving them around your little one.

These dogs tend to drool a lot, and the excess saliva might expose your little one to rabies.

So it’s best to visit your vet to check on whether all your dog’s vaccinations are on track before allowing for baby-dog interaction. 

Helping Your English Bulldog Adjust to a New Baby

Although known to be friendly with children and babies, English Bulldogs might struggle to adjust to a new baby in the home.

This is especially common in households where the dog isn’t properly introduced to the baby. 

English Bulldogs are prone to jealousy towards new babies, especially if they feel the newborns are soaking up all the attention.

Remember, as intelligent dogs, English Bulldogs start to feel like part of the family immediately after being welcomed home.

This means they’re likely to become hostile to babies if they view the babies as rivals for the parent’s attention.  

Therefore, to ensure your English Bulldog and baby get along well, you’ll need to introduce them gradually.

Allow the dog to interact (without contact) with the baby.

Try introducing toys that your English Bulldog and baby can share. Be sure to supervise their play, observing your Bulldog’s response during playtime. 

Toddlers

English Bulldogs, especially puppies, make great pets for toddlers.

This is because, similar to toddlers, puppies are full of energy and love engaging in play, all day, every day!

Adult English Bulldogs also make ideal pets for toddlers due to their calmer demeanor, which allows them to take a lot more abuse from curious toddlers than those still in puppyhood.

Older Kids

Bulldog hugging a kid

Both puppies and adult English Bulldogs make fantastic pets for older kids.

Unlike toddlers and babies who tend to harass English Bulldogs, older kids better understand pet care and interact better with the dogs.

Even better, you can start involving your older kids in the daily feeding and grooming activities of your English Bulldog. 

Is the English Bulldog the Right Size for Your Family?

Despite its fairly short stature, the English Bulldog is a powerful dog, as can be seen from its muscular arms and legs.

Female English Bulldogs usually weigh between 40-48 pounds, which is slightly less than males who weigh between 50-55 pounds (22.68-24.95 kg). 

These strong but extra cute, gentle giants aren’t among the tallest breeds.

On average, males reach a maximum of 17 inches (43.18 cm), while their female counterparts rarely surpass the 15 inches (38.1 cm) mark.  

Due to their heavy weights and powerful stature, it isn’t a good idea to allow children to walk fully grown English Bulldogs without adult supervision.

These dogs are known for their muscular physique. They might overpower your little one, especially if they get distracted while out on walks. 

While it’s okay for older children to carry English Bulldog puppies, the same cannot be said about adult Bulldogs.

As mentioned above, these muscular canines tend to weigh around 50 pounds, which might prove too heavy for little children to manage.

However, you can allow your child to carry English Bulldog puppies, but only if he or she is strong enough to handle the puppy’s weight and wiggly nature.

Bathing an English Bulldog requires a high level of care, especially when cleaning his muzzle and the sensitive areas between his wrinkles.

Thus, it isn’t the best idea to outsource the bathing task to young kids, specifically toddlers who won’t be gentle enough when handling the dog.  

How Much Living Space Does the English Bulldog Need?

English Bulldogs can thrive in both apartments and houses with large compounds.

The good thing about English Bulldogs is they don’t need acres of space to survive or be happy. 

Bulldog on the living room

Even better, English Bulldogs require little physical activity and don’t bark as much as other breeds do.

These features make the English Bulldog a great indoor dog that can comfortably fit in small and large apartments. 

Although these cute dogs can do well in apartments, they won’t be comfortable when kept in extra tiny crates.

That means you’ll need to get a crate that accommodates the size of your English Bulldog. Ideally, the crate should neither be too large nor too small.  

Can English Bulldogs Cause Allergies?

Unfortunately, English Bulldogs are not hypoallergenic, which means they’re likely to cause allergic reactions to family members with a dog allergy.

And although the English Bulldog isn’t a heavy shedder, the breed is known to shed consistently all year round, highlighting the need for proper grooming when dealing with these canine companions. 

In addition to their constant shedding, English Bulldogs are notorious for drooling both as puppies and adults.

These four-legged best friends are also known to snort frequently, meaning they can easily eject allergens via their noses into the air and on furniture. 

The presence of a smooth, straight coat doesn’t make English Bulldogs immune to allergies themselves.

The unique skin folding that characterizes English Bulldogs can lead to folliculitis, muzzle acne, and dermatitis, hence the need to keep a close eye on your pup.

The wrinkles and skin folds can become itchy and irritated, leading to yeast and other potentially serious infections. 

Therefore, before making English Bulldogs permanent family members, consult with a trusted vet for a thorough checkup.

That’s because, despite being cute (and highly addictive), English Bulldogs are predisposed to allergies and are likely to cause allergic reactions to dog-sensitive family members. 

If you’re in search of a hypoallergenic dog breed, then it’s best to steer clear of English Bulldogs, as this breed is as allergenic as they get.

Consider trying out other less allergic breeds if you must add a canine companion to your family. 

Do They Bark a Lot?

English bulldog running

English Bulldogs are the ideal indoor dogs, especially for pet parents looking for breeds that are relatively easy to maintain.

These dogs won’t bark much, not unless they’re excited, distressed, or smell a foreign scent. 

However, although English Bulldogs aren’t known to bark excessively, they still make an assortment of adorable snores and snorts.

The good thing about their noises is they’re manageable and very easy to live with. 

Will an English Bulldog make excessive noise for a baby or elderly family members?

Well, no dog is immune to occasional noise making. However, the English Bulldog is among the most peaceful and calm dog breeds out there.

That means you can keep your Bulldog, whether a puppy or an adult, with babies and elderly family members. 

English bulldog with a leash

The trick to minimizing English Bulldog barks is to ensure they have everything they need when they need it.

English Bulldogs should also be socialized early enough to make them comfortable with unfamiliar faces.

That’ll help reduce the barking frequency, more so in apartment settings.  

Since English Bulldogs don’t bark frequently, it’s important to note when their barking patterns change.

Excessive barking usually points to a problem somewhere. It could be that the Bulldog is hungry, distressed, or frustrated about something and needs your assistance. 

If the barking continues despite your attempts to make your pet more comfortable, then it might be time to visit the vet.

A veterinarian will help determine if there’s an underlying health issue that requires immediate attention. 

Are English Bulldogs Aggressive?

English Bulldogs have a calm, gentle disposition that makes them easy to handle.

As a people-oriented breed, most well-trained English Bulldogs will thrive by soliciting human attention. 

While English Bulldogs might appear calm and gentle, they shouldn’t be mistaken for tame, as they can turn from cute to aggressive within a couple of seconds, especially when provoked or threatened.

This explains the need to socialize your pup as early as you can. 

Two english bulldogs socializing

When with an owner or a familiar person, English Bulldogs will be calm and composed.

However, the same cannot be said about strangers, especially when dealing with untrained Bulldogs.  

English Bulldogs will rarely act aggressively towards any family members.

However, they might not be too welcoming to new babies if not properly introduced.

But if socialized at tender ages, English Bulldogs will make great companions due to their calm temperament. 

Are English Bulldogs Ideal for Families With Seniors?

Besides being even-tempered and gentle, English Bulldogs are also low-energy, meaning they don’t require many hours outside exercising.

And although English Bulldogs still require regular exercise, their needs aren’t as massive as other breeds. 

Due to their low-energy characteristics, English Bulldogs make great pets for households with seniors.

Even seniors living alone can thrive with English Bulldogs since they’re usually easy to maintain in addition to being mild-mannered. 

Worried that your English Bulldog might aggressively jump on your elderly relatives?

Worry no more since these dogs are easy-going and not too physically active.

While puppies might be overly physical when playing and teething, they tend to tone down their physicality as they enter their adult years.

The good thing with puppies is they don’t weigh as much as fully grown Bulldogs.

However, as they grow older and pack a bit of weight, they might pose the risk of injury, especially if they abruptly jump on senior family members.

Therefore, to be on the safe side when living with an aging family member, it’s best to train your pup not to jump while still young. 

English Bulldogs love attention. And since these dogs are more suited to the indoors than outdoors, they’ll make great companions for seniors at home.

English Bulldogs are very affectionate, protective, and gentle, meaning senior relatives or guests won’t be at risk of being trampled or knocked down.

Do English Bulldogs Get Along With Other Dogs?

Two dogs

English Bulldogs are a social breed and can get along pretty well with both humans and animals.

When dealing with this adorable breed, the trick is to train the dog to be social from a tender age. 

It’s possible to keep two English Bulldogs and have them thrive cohabiting in the same environment.

However, the dynamics change when you’re introducing an adult English Bulldog to other dogs.

You’ll need to be patient and extra careful when introducing the dogs.

Hold the new dog firmly in place and allow the old one to sniff (while observing his reactions).

Let the older dog understand that the recent introduction is not a threat but a new companion. 

Which Breeds Are Most Compatible With the English Bulldog?

Although Bulldogs are laid back, they might find hanging out with tiny, all-over-the-place breeds to be too much of a hassle.

Breeds like the Chihuahua might be too much for your English Bulldogs, and they can even get hurt accidentally during play. 

English Bulldogs are better suited to medium-to-large-sized dogs like fellow Bulldogs, Mastiffs, and Pugs.

However, if well socialized (preferably at a young age), these dogs can get along with almost all breeds, provided the other dogs are socialized as well. 

Is It Ideal To Have Two or More English Bulldogs?

Keeping two English Bulldogs together is a good idea, as they’re likely to get along more than when paired with other breeds.

However, it’s best to have a male and female, although keeping same-sex English Bulldogs can work well in some circumstances.

If you plan to keep two or more English Bulldogs, it’s best to introduce them as puppies.

However, when keeping puppies, you’ll need to be extra vigilant and observe their behavior and interactions with other family members.

That’s because puppies can excessively bond with each other to the extent that they fail to connect with other pets or family members. 

Are English Bulldogs Good With Cats?

cat and english bulldog

Due to their friendliness and easy-going nature, English Bulldogs can easily get along with the family cat.

Granted, the Bulldogs won’t be as playful as cats, but they’ll get along nonetheless, engaging in occasional play, especially with toys. 

Despite their reputation as generally social dogs, you should still take the time to socialize your English Bulldog at a young age.

This dog breed needs to interact with your other pets at a tender age to accept them as part of the family.

And in case you adopt an adult English Bulldog, be sure to introduce him to your other pets one by one, not all at once.

While English Bulldogs are mild-tempered, they can get a bit aggressive during mealtime.

Due to this, most dog experts recommend feeding English Bulldogs in separate areas from your other tinier pets.

That means your cat will need a separate feeding area to reduce the chances of aggression and even attacks during mealtime. 

Cats and English Bulldogs form tight bonds over the years, especially if introduced and raised together during their younger years.

However, despite the bond they might develop, it’s better to keep them separate when nursing.

A mother cat might perceive your English Bulldog as a potential threat after giving birth, so you might want to keep the kittens away for a while. 

Wrapping Up

English Bulldogs are without a doubt one of the most popular indoor dog breeds.

These cute, mid-sized four-legged best friends make great family pets due to their mild temperament, love of affection, and calmness. 

You can expect an English Bulldog, whether a puppy or an adult, to get along with other family members (pets included) due to their warm and extra friendly demeanor.

English Bulldogs are also great pets for households with babies, toddlers, and even seniors since they don’t bark a lot and are pretty gentle. 

English bulldog on the grass

References

  • AKC: Bulldog Dog Breed Information
  • Hill’s Pet: English Bulldog Breed – Facts and Personality Traits
  • Any Bulldog: Is a Bulldog a Good Family Dog? Yes! And Here’s Why
  • Any Bulldog: English Bulldogs and Babies: All You Need to Know!
  • Pets World: Are English Bulldogs Good with Kids?
  • Dog Food Smart: English Bulldog Growth Chart | Bulldog Puppy Weight Chart
  • Daily Puppy: Are English Bulldogs Good Apartment Dogs?
  • Canna-Pet: Are English Bulldogs Hypoallergenic?
  • Nom Nom Now: English Bulldogs and Skin Allergies
  • Any Bulldog: Can Bulldogs Live in Apartments? A Complete Guide
  • Crazy Pet Guy: Do English Bulldogs Like Other Dogs?
  • Bulldogs World: Why Are Bulldogs a Good Choice for Seniors?
  • The Spruce Pets: How to Treat Folliculitis in Dogs
  • Animal Med Center: Canine Allergic Dermatitis: Causes and Treatment Options

Click here to read my one-page Bulldog parent’s guide

Marcelle Landestoy

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